The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has dampened this year’s Christmas mood, The Sunday Mail reports. While Christmas decorations are all over the place and corporates already embarking on Christmas promotions, there are other tell-tell signs that show that this year’s Christmas is different from other Christmasses.
The publication noted the Harare Mayor is yet to officially light the Christmas lights in the Sunshine City which are usually installed at Africa Unity Square, Town House, Harare Gardens, and First street. When contacted for comment, Mr. Innocent Ruwende, the Harare City Council acting corporate communications manager said:
With Covid-19 among us, we were not sure how we were going to go about this event. We have, however, set December 16 as the date for the lighting. However, I would want to stress that due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s function will not be as big as the usual ones.
At the Roadport, where passengers board busses to South Africa, which is usually congested with passengers traveling between the 2 countries around this time of the year one driver also confirmed that business was low to the publication. Said Mr. Onismo Ngwenya:
As you can see, very few people are travelling these days. The number of people that are travelling from South Africa is very low.
Another cross border transporter identified as Mthulisi told the publication that all was not well in their industry this time around:
Things are not well my brother. The majority of our customers in South Africa were affected by the lockdown and are therefore are not in a position to give us the usual business.
Most of my clients are from Bulawayo and other parts of Matabeleland. Many of them trooped back home at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another transporter only identified as Taurai Mutasa also said things were not so OK in his business:
I have nothing to celebrate. I lost my job and also my grandmother succumbed to coronavirus complications. This is a terrible year and I just wish it ends.
A Zimbabwean based in South Africa popularly referred to as Injiva said those planning to travel will have to pay an arm and a leg because they need to be tested for COVID-19 twice on top of other expenses to be incurred during the holidays.
More: The Sunday Mail